We investigated the differential effects of self-explaining a refutational text, compared to thinking aloud or rereading. Undergraduate students (n = 105) read a refutational text about natural selection and were asked to either self-explain, think-aloud, or re-read the text. Then they completed a posttest that assessed general knowledge of natural selection. Students who self-explained the refutational text subsequently outperformed their peers on a test of their knowledge of natural selection. Additionally, the results suggest that both instructional and performance differences were significantly linked to the degree of causal cohesion present within students’ natural language responses to the text (i.e., self-explanations and think-alouds).